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Report Of The Health Officer

To the President of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute:

The physical plant and capacity for taking care of the sick is as reported last year. There are 56 beds in the infirmary, which is all that is necessary except during an epidemic. Since the students are vaccinated against small-pox and inoculated against typhoid fever the only epidemic that taxed our bed space capacity was influenza. Epidemics of influenza seem to come in cycles regardless of all that has been done in preventive medicine. A large per cent of the students are affected by this disease at practically the same date, but it is useless to increase the capacity of the infirmary for this one malady.

A mild epidemic of influenza occurred during January of this year and 191 cases were admitted to the infirmary or temporary rooms outside the infirmary under the supervision of the hospital staff. We were able to take care of the patients in a very satisfactory manner. There were no deaths from any cause during this time.

The personnel of the staff is the same as last year and is so efficient that I do not wish to recommend any change for next year.

During the year 1930-1931, there were 764 patients admitted to the infirmary and 2,607 days of patients in the infirmary. Of this number 73 were seniors, 114 juniors, 188 sophomores, 386 freshmen, 2 post graduates and an alumnus. In addition, there were the usual number treated at sick call each day but not ill enough to be admitted to the infirmary. There were no records made of these except the military records of the ones excused.

Considerable laboratory work was done at the infirmary in addition to the routine laboratory work. Throat cultures were made of all persons who were in any way connected with the handling of foods for the college, to protect ourselves against carriers of diseases.

There was one death during the year from complications following scarlet fever. Dr. Henderson of Blacksburg and Dr. Lawson of Roanoke were called as consultants in the case. This is the only death that has occurred over a period of five years, and during the period 7,070 students were enrolled at V. P. I., making the death rate .014 per cent, which is exceedingly low.

The usual examinations of all freshmen and juniors were made, and where defects were found, or it seemed necessary, re-examinations were made and corrective measures prescribed. The sanitary inspections of the campus and farm were made this year by me in connection with the business manager. Health measures were insisted upon wherever contacts were made with the students, from the time they entered the campus until they left after the final exercises.

It has been my pleasure and privilege to attend our various local medical societies in Virginia this year and, during the Christmas holidays, the National Students’ Health Association meeting in New York City.

Our work is increasing in proportion to the increase in other departments and the enlarged enrolment. We have asked that our budget be augmented to take care of the increasing number that apply for admission each year.

Respectfully submitted.

CHAS. R. WOOLWINE, Health Officer.